Arsenal filling the ranks of MLS

STEVEN SANDOR, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:12 AM ET

What is it with Arsenal and Major League Soccer?

Seattle Sounders’ Freddie Ljungberg is a former Arsenal superstar and Steve Zakuani came through the famed English club’s youth system. Another Arsenal youth-system product, Ryan Smith, has been a welcome addition to the Kansas City Wizards’ attack.

And, both Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, teammates of Ljungberg’s on the 2003-04 Arsenal team that went through an entire English Premier League campaign without a loss, are both rumoured to be making the move to MLS — Pires to Philadelphia and Henry to New York.

Ljungberg admits those players have sounded him out about MLS.

“I’ve had quite a lot of conversations with former players in the league and teammates all about MLS,” Ljungberg said.

“They are considering it.”

The catch?

Former Gunners players are worried about being seen as saviours for their respective franchises, that too much pressure would be put on them. They would prefer to be parts of teams that have two or three Designated Players so not all of the focus would be on them. With New York, which already has Juan Pablo Angel, that would be the case.

So, is Ljungberg a pitchman for MLS?

“My mission here is to make soccer grow,” he said.


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